VERA Baird has been selected as the Labour candidate for the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner.
The former Solicitor General and MP for Redcar will now go up against Conservative candidate Phil Butler, a former Northumbria Police detective inspector, in elections later this year.
Ms Baird said: “I am delighted to have been chosen as Labour’s candidate in Northumbria. I would like to thank Labour Party members from across Tyne and Wear and Northumberland for their support.
“It’s my job now to consult all the people of Northumbria, rural and urban, from young to old about their policing needs so that I can be their voice.
“I want to ensure that our excellent local policing is improved further by listening to the needs of our communities more closely.”
Former Mayor of Sunderland Tom Foster, who retired from representing the Castle ward as a councillor this year, had also been running for the Labour candidacy. He was beaten in a vote by Labour members.
The new role is far wider than just policing. Victim support, community safety and crime reduction will all be part of the Commissioner’s work. The role of Commissioner is a brand new one created by the Coalition Government and comes with a salary of £80,000.
In Durham, Labour selected Ron Hogg as their candidate, who is a former Assistant Chief Constable of Durham Constabulary and Deputy Chief Constable of Cleveland Police.
Mr Hogg said: “I wish to express my gratitude to all those who have supported and encouraged me, and offer a special thanks to the members of the Labour Party who voted for me to be their candidate.
“It was an exceptionally strong field and I now enter the next phase of the campaign which is to win the election in November.”
Shadow Home Affairs Minister Chris Bryant said: “We have an excellent set of Labour candidates in the North East with a wide range of backgrounds and experience.
“You don’t have to win mastermind to work out you don’t cut crime by cutting the police. This region is losing over 1,000 police officers because of the Tory-led government’s funding cuts.
“That is a ludicrous gamble with public safety and people are rightly anxious about the effect it will have on the fight against crime.”